Friday, June 22, 2018

Mac's Industrial Sports bar

I believe I spotted Mac’s Industrial on a list of best wings in the Twin Cities, so of course we had to check it out. It is definitely a bar and pretty no frills one at that. But we found the food to be surprisingly solid and a step above bar food at most places. 

John had the buffalo wings. The wings were large in size and had a nice grilled finish so the skin on the exterior was a bit crisp. Very good. The buffalo sauce was good as well, it was the gilled finish that really made these good for me. 

I had the tostada nachos topped with beef, cheese and jalapenos and lettuce, sour cream and pico on the side. These were good and not too greasy either. The tostadas stayed crisp and the beef had good flavor too. I would order these again.

Mac’s had a wide range of tap beers, lots of local selections and a full bar as well. The service was solid too. No waiting for anything at all. It is hard to find sports bars with decent food, and Mac’s certainly worth a stop.

Mac's Industrial Sports Bar
312 Central Ave SE 
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Phone: (612) 379-3379

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

PinkKU Japanese

Once more, it has taken us ages to get to a new restaurant. PinKU opened in 2016 and we have been in the area fairly often, but never remembered to stop in. It has gotten a lot of positive press in the Twin Cites in the last couple of years.

The concept seems to be quick service Japanese and sushi in a small footprint of a space. I guess they have gone on Shark Tank looking for financing to take the idea to a wider audience.

When you arrive you see a rather concise menu on the wall and you place your order at the register and then take a seat. The food is brought out as it is ready.

We started with the pork gyoza. These were perfect. There was just the right amount of crunch on the side that was seared and the filling had nice flavor.
My plate had the crispy shrimp rice and the yellowtail tuna. The yellowtail tasted very fresh and the sauce added just the right amount of soy flavor. The crispy shrimp rice is lightly breaded shrimp on a bed of rice. The shrimp has a very light breading of potato starch topping.
John’s plate contained the spicy tuna crispy rice, tuna poke and another order of shrimp rice. The spicy tuna crispy rice was unusual and simple, with a bit of crisped rice under the tuna. It was very good. I could have eaten several of these. The tuna poke was very fresh tasting and John also enjoyed the crispy shrimp.

The prices are not too bad, especially when you consider everything has to be flown in fresh daily. The dining room has some fun murals on the wall and feel minimalist and modern. The food was very good and I think this is a nice, quick, casual option for fresh sushi. I only wish we were inside of the delivery area for Doordash or Postmates so we could save a trip downtown.

PinKU Japanese
20 University Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
Phone: (612) 584-3167

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Las Vegas 05.04-09.2018 - The One With Knight Fever and Cosmo's Opium

Time for another trip report from Las Vegas! Our flight was on Delta and wonderfully uneventful. It was nice to be back in the main terminal at MSP too. Lots more pre-flight options. I forgot to take photos, but we tried the Twinburger outpost down the Delta corridor. It was decent, but not amazing. Once in Las Vegas we landed a bit early and took Lyft from the airport to the Palazzo.
Our Palazzo room was quite nice once again. No issues. Low floor though. A view costs more and since these were free rooms from the IHG credit card, I wasn't going to complain. 

One nice thing about the Palazzo is that the rideshare pickup is at the lower level valet pickup, the Venetian one is way in the sticks in the parking ramp. So since the rooms are the same, we prefer Palazzo. 
View of a nice brown wall.....
We quickly unpacked a bit changed and headed over to Gold Coast to meet up with my pal from Trip Advisor, Deanna and her new husband Kelly. They eloped a few days earlier! Bummer that we missed the event, but we had tons of fun playing blackjack with them in the hippie pit at Gold Coast. The music is fun, and not too loud, but loud enough to feel fun and upbeat. Plus we won some sweet swag like blinkie light necklaces and stress ball type things. I think I finished down a bit, but not too bad. Liked the hippie pit and I think we will have to add that into the regular rotation of good places for low level blackjack near the strip.

Saturday morning we got up and had breakfast at Grand Lux Cafe. I forgot to take photos this time, but we went there last year also, and it was really good once more.
After breakfast we went to the pool for a few hours. We didn't have any trouble getting chairs as it was pretty early in the morning yet.
After the pool, we got ready and went for a late lunch at Chica.
empanadas were very good

the corn looked good, but wasn't great, not sweet corn at all. 
excellent churros though
We walked the strip a bit, stopping to grab drinks at Margaritaville (had a BOGO coupon) and we watched the Kentucky Derby at Cromwell. We decided we wanted to play some cheap blackjack, so we Ubered over to Ellis Island. I don't think the session was memorable though.

We Ubered over to the Cosmopolitan and played some assorted slots and then video poker at Bond Bar until it was time for our dinner reservation.
We tried Estiatorio Milos and it was amazing from start to finish. Your party is taken up to the fish market area of the kitchen, and if you wish, you can select market price fish. We went with the John Dory. It was fun to see the fresh fish and you tell the server what your tastes and preferences are and they suggest fish to fit your requests.
great view from their terrace

Greek ceviche starter

our freshly prepared John Dory
steamed potato- had a nice citrus flavor
plated fish

The service was excellent from start to finish and while it cost and arm and a leg, we enjoyed it immensely. 
We had a little time between dinner and the show, so we went back to Bond Bar for a bit. We went to the late show for Opium. It is a newer show at Cosmo by the group that produces Absinthe at Caesars. It is certainly along those lines, with a small intimate room and a bunch of raunchy, funny jokes.

The guy with the dog was my favorite act. Of course! There were a bunch of others, including a singing drag queen who was very good, and acts that were somewhere between interesting and bewildering, but we thought it was a fun show. After the show, we wandered around Cosmo a bit, but it was pretty packed and we were getting tired, and we are old and boring,  so we headed back to Palazzo via rideshare.
antique gondola on display at Venetian Palazzo
Sunday morning we had breakfast at Yardbird's brunch. I finally remembered to try the maple bacon donuts and they were amazingly light, fluffy, sweet and savory. I'd highly recommend these.
John had the brisket biscuits
I had the fried chicken
We played a few slots at Venetian after breakfast. I think this was the most I won. So not great. The machine was oddly mute with no sound at all. So not very fun either. We headed back to the room, packed up and got a rideshare to the Golden Nugget.
We had gotten an offer for comp rooms at the Golden Nugget at the last minute, so we were excited to stay there. We went to the Rush Tower to check in and we assumed we were getting Carson Tower rooms since we had booked those, but while checking in we asked about upgrading and the front desk person said she had already upgraded us to Rush complimentary. So that was GREAT! Wonder when those offers will  dry up and how we got them?

view from out Golden Nugget room

After checking in, we went over to Main Street Station to play video poker for awhile. I did manage to get four aces, too bad I wasn't playing a game that had a bonus for that.
We tried Evil Pie on Fremont East. I was underwhelmed. Pizza Rock is ten times better than this place and I'm not sure Ever Pie is big on cleanliness, looked kinda icky on the floors. No thanks, never again.
The Golden Knights had a playoff game, and we had been hearing a lot about Starboard Tack, so we took Lyft there to watch the game.

They have a few tiki inspired drinks and a lot of good cocktails. It is not a tiki bar though. 
They also had some nice happy hour and game time specials. 
We headed back downtown and caught the end of the game at the Downtown Event Center. It had a fun vibe and we enjoyed how everyone in town is into the Knights.  The Knights won the series and  after that, we headed to the Golden Gate for a blackjack session.
We had a late diner at Spring Street Grill at the Fremont Casino. John had the ribeye.
I had the mahi mahi. Both the food and service were very good, once again. This place is definitely worth adding to your list if you like steak and seafood.
 We've been mourning the loss of DuPar's downtown (it closed about a year ago in May) and we finally decided to just suck it up and take a ride out to Suncoast for breakfast.
It was worth the trip too. Expectations met. 
The pancakes were buttery and fluffy as always. 
So, honestly, if you still miss DuPar's it might be worth going out to the Suncoast for breakfast. It was a pretty quick ride and that area of town is very pretty too.
We played a few slots at Suncoast and went to the Cosmo because we had both gotten an email for some free play. I think John was the one who had this nice hit on his free play. So that was worth the stop.
We went back to the Golden Nugget and played a bunch of slots there. Also got another four aces at Four Queens I believe. Again, wrong game for 4 aces. Oh well.
We had a late lunch at LeThai on Fremont East. These crab rangoon cream cheese puffs are crave worthy.
John had the Chicken Pad Kee Mow.  It was spicy and excellent and very filling.
I had the short rib fried rice. This stuff is magical. So good. The portion was huge too. We probably could have shared a dish and it would have been plenty.

After lunch, we made the downtown circuit using all of our free play and free slot play coupons from the American Casino Guide and Las Vegas Advisor books. I used the table game matchplay on roulette at a few places, with John taking one color and I'd take the other color. So that way one of us always won. And I won all of those bets funnily enough. But later on, they put a stop to that at one of the casinos, I can't recall where, the Golden Gate I think maybe. Funny thing was we both won our bets that time.
We had a late dinner at Triple George. I believe we used a coupon from one of the books too. Started with shrimp cocktail.
drunken hanger steak
seared ahi tacos for me

After dinner, I think we went and played blackjack at the Golden Gate for awhile. So a busy Monday overall. 
Tuesday morning, we checked out Claim Jumper at the Golden Nugget. I had the breakfast croissant.
basic breakfast for John
They had sourdough toast, so extra bonus points for that anyway.  Claim Jumper was OK, solid I guess.  No keno wins either.
We spent the morning at the pool, until it got too hot-- the temps were in the record setting territory for this early in the year, in the 100s most days, though it didn't feel the bad as long as you were not directly in the burning sun.
After the pool, we changed and played a few slots at the D and had a late lunch at American Coney. I think we played a bunch of slots at the Golden Nugget as well.
We had dinner at Vic and Anthony's at the Golden Nugget. I had come across a menu on their website for a "Distinctive Dining three Course meal" for $52 per person. Since the 8 oz filet is $49 on their regular menu, this turned out to be an amazing deal with the starters, sides and dessert included. The only catch is that you have to print off the menu and bring it along with you to get the special price. My Caesar salad is above.  John had the same.
au gratin potatoes - super cheesy and delicious 
8 oz filet- very tender 
Broccoli the size of a chihuahua's head
shrimp scampi for John
creme brûlée for my dessert
I think this was the chocolate mousse cake

The service at Vic and Anthony's was excellent as always. This is an underrated steakhouse, in my opinion, and the prices are not bad either, especially in comparison to strip steakhouses.

After dinner we played blackjack at the Golden Gate and then at the Plaza for awhile too. I don't recall how things went. Not great I suspect.
Wednesday morning we had breakfast at Magnolia's at Four Queens and then packed up the room and headed to the airport via rideshare. Taxis are dead to us, in case you haven't noticed. They are going the way of the dinosaurs. And good riddance too. Taxis are the worst in Vegas, with rude drivers, nasty cars and too much long hauling.

This trip was great, but it felt a little uneventful for some reason. But, a day in Vegas is better than most days anywhere else, so I can't complain. Our flight home was uneventful and on time. Thanks Delta!  We already have trips booked for September and November, so I guess we don't need to worry about when our next trip will be.